SINGAPORE — Employers have been urged to pay heavy-vehicle drivers, such as those who drive tipper trucks, a fixed monthly salary and assign them with “a reasonable number of trips” daily, rather than on a per-trip remuneration basis.
This suggestion is among a set of draft traffic management recommendations developed by the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council, aimed at ensuring the safety of the drivers of commercial vehicles and other road users.
Speaking at a Workplace Traffic Safety Management Forum yesterday, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi said the guidelines will include information on how to better plan driving routes and manage the maintenance of vehicles and work schedules of these drivers.
Last year, 13 people lost their lives in work-related traffic accidents. In 2011, about 10 deaths were attributed to work-related traffic accidents.
With Land Transport Authority statistics showing that almost 300,000 vehicles are used for work-related purposes and that they spend more time on the roads compared to private transport such as cars and motorcycles, Mr Hawazi said employers’ ability to influence road safety is “significant”.
“Each of us has a stake in road safety as everyone is a road user. It is important that others are not put at risk by work-related driving activities,” he added.
Noting that society is moving at a “faster pace”, the proposed guidelines said employees who need to drive for work purposes may need to do so for longer periods of time, feel obligated to drive faster and engage in distracting activities in the vehicles to meet their job responsibilities.
“These factors may increase the possibility of traffic accidents,” added the WSH Council, which developed the draft guidelines in collaboration with the Singapore Road Safety Council.
Earlier this year, an accident involving a cement truck that killed two brothers, aged seven and 13, cast the spotlight on drivers being paid for each trip they make.
Mr Christopher Yeo, 48, General Manager at OCWS Logistics, said his company currently adopts a mixed system for their drivers where, on top of their basic salary, the number of trips and their performance, such as attendance and safety records, will also determine their pay. He added that they “cannot do away completely with the ‘per-trip’ basis” as it offers motivation to cover more trips.
Still, the draft recommendations proposed that an organisation can consider incentivising its employees to strive for better WSH performance, such as monetary rewards for having no traffic violations or fines.
Mr Hawazi said the Manpower Ministry will also amend the WSH (Incident Reporting) Regulations to require companies to report any work-related traffic accidents in the first quarter of next year.
This requirement will be “more effective in tracking the frequency and causes of work-related traffic accidents to identify possible areas of intervention”, he added.